Jesus was once in Jerusalem for a Jewish feast and he walked by a pool called Bethesda where a bunch of sick people hung out. There was a legend that periodically an angel would come down to stir the waters in the pool and when it happened the first person to get into the pool would be healed. So that’s where the broken people waited. And that’s where Jesus found himself. He was introduced to a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. He said he couldn’t move very well so whenever the water was stirred everyone else beat him into the pool.

Thirty-eight years is a long time to be sick.

I suppose after thirty-eight years a person gets used to being sick. I suppose it is easy to give up hope; easy to lose any other vision of yourself. I suppose after thirty-eight years a person could easily find their identity in being The Invalid. Perhaps after thirty-eight years a sickness could become so comfortable that it seems normal. Not normal for everyone, but after thirty-eight years of living with your sickness, of praying for your sickness, of agonizing over your sickness, of hating your sickness, of being defined by your sickness, I suppose it could become normal for person to be sick. I suppose after thirty-eight years it would be easy to become Ken The Invalid.

Perhaps this is why Jesus asked this man a rather remarkable question. He looked at him in the eyes and asked, “Do you want to get well?”

What kind of question is that? Of course he wants to get well. Of course he wants to be able to live a normal life. Of course he wants to be productive and contribute to society. Of course he wants to move around on his own. Why would Jesus ask such a silly question? Who doesn’t want to get well from their sickness?

Yet this is Jesus’ question. “Do you want to get well?”
From lies.
From pain.
From brokenness.
From fear.
From helplessness.
From bondage.
From flawed identity.
From voices.
From victimization.
From darkness.
From doubt.
From failure.
From emptiness.
From nothingness.
From overeating.
From binging.
From purging.
From cutting.
From addiction.
From hopelessness.
From despair.
From darkness.
Do you want to get well?

I wonder if I really want to get well.
I say I want to get well.
I think I want to get well.
I tell people I want to get well.
But when it comes down to it, do I really want to get well?
Or has my sickness become such a faithful companion that parting would be unthinkable?

In order for me to experience Jesus’ healing I will have to part with my sickness. I cannot be well and sick at the same time. I’m going to have to choose one or the other. Jesus knows this even if I don’t. Perhaps this is why he asks the question.

Do you want to get well?

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